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New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is seen as one of cricket’s nice guys – that’s why a controversial moment in the Black Caps’ T20 World Cup clash against England caused so much buzz.
Williamson dived full length to appear to have taken a superb hold to knock out opposing skipper Jos Buttler for just 8 early in England’s innings.
However, the third referee will quickly confirm that the Kiwi star did in fact guzzle him, the ball bouncing and hitting the ground before he clutched it to his chest.
The non-exit was so obvious that Williamson quickly apologized to Buttler, who had already walked to the edge of the border awaiting dismissal.
Buttler would go on to rack up 73 runs from just 47 balls to lead England to a hefty 6/179, but that didn’t stop fans playing Williamson on social media.
Accused of “cheating”, some have suggested that Williamson only escaped the scrutiny of official World Cup commentators at the time because of his reputation as a champion of sportsmanship.
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Earlier in the tournament, India’s Ravichandran Ashwin courted controversy in similar circumstances, when he claimed a hold to dismiss Pakistan’s Shan Masood, only for replays showing the ball had bounced.
Some fans were quick to point out that Ashwin, who has long been at the center of controversy in the sport, was quick to come under fire for the act, accusing the cricketing world of holding double standards.
Others, however, have suggested that Williamson would have received even more criticism had he been Australian.
Others, however, suggested that Williamson’s immediate reaction after the ‘catch’, suggesting to the referees he wasn’t sure it was clean, was enough to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Interestingly, due to a quirk in the rules, England were denied a run despite the hold being dropped, as the ball became dead when the field call was given.